Research theme challenges

Development of experimental models of the eye and the associated diseases is a major challenge, because the anatomy of the eye and its tissues, including its vasculature, is intricate and highly structured.

For an experimental model to capture functional aspects of eye disease, it will be necessary to at least capture some of the heterogeneity and tissue complexity of the eye, as well as to allow the controlled integration of specific risk factors and mechanistic factors.

Promising studies have shown that Organ-on-Chip technology can be applied to engineer models with sufficient complexity for specific pathophysiological processes like choroid neovascularization and photoreceptor outer segment phagocytosis to be captured. Such studies center mostly on addressing the engineering challenges, and therefore highlight the need for multidisciplinary development by building project groups with sufficient biomedical, (stem) cell biological and technical expertise and to include direct connections between stakeholders from academia, pharmaceutical industry, hi-tech industry.